The Packers parted ways with the 33-year old Jimmy Graham after two disappointing seasons that settled for his best in 2018 with only 55 catches for 636 yards and two touchdowns. He comes off a 38-catch, 447-yard effort with three touchdowns last year despite playing all 16 games for a Packers team desperate for receiving help for the second straight season.
He’s ten seasons into his career that peaked in 2013 in his last year with the Saints. Now with his fourth franchise, Graham is trying to just squeeze more out of his declining career.
The Bears certainly need receiving help though the starting quarterback won’t necessarily be Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears are openly looking for a veteran to challenge the former first-round pick with Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles at the top of the list. That could mean that the quarterback situation is not stable during the season.
While HC Matt Nagy enters his third season and has a heavy hand in the offense, the Bears are onto Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator. This has not been an offense that has used the position much in the two seasons under Nagy. Last year, no tight end totaled more than 87 yards and combined for only two scores from the six that caught passes. 2018 was better when Trey Burton ended with 569 yards and six scores on 54 receptions.
The premise is that Graham could help as a red-zone target. He re-established himself as a fantasy option in 2017 when he caught ten touchdowns in his final season with the Seahawks. He racked up 65 catches for 923 yards and six scores in 2016. But his time as a Packer only showed an aging tight end that had not only lost a step but one that no longer offered much as a scoring factor. Graham only totaled five touchdowns over his two years in Green Bay.
He still has a name that once carried plenty of fantasy relevance. But since he turned 30 years old, he hasn’t offered much beyond any average tight end. With the quarterback situation undetermined and potentially in question the entire season, there isn’t any reason to expect an uptick of any measure for Graham’s production.
The Bears spent a 2.13 pick on Adam Shaheen in 2017 with never more than 13 catches in a season. Trey Burton topped out with 569 yards and six scores in 2018 but had a broken hip in 2019. He’s been a bust as a free-agent signing and bringing in 33-year-old Graham doesn’t look to improve upon that streak.